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Symposium! Scholarship and Libraries in Transition: A Dialogue about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects March 10, 2006

Posted by jennimi in Academic Librarianship, Conference, Digitization Projects, Scholarship and Libraries in Transition, Web 2.0.

Sitting here in Ann Arbor, Michigan for an interesting symposium about the impact of the mass digitizing of print materials such as U of Michigan and Google are doing with the U Mich library collection. I am really appreciating the official blog (and conference hall wireless), though it would kind of be cool to be allowed to post more than just comments. Also, a link back to symposium home, and other resources (restaurants and maps, for example) would have been nice. Still, the attendees here are very savvy. Nice to be a part of this.

First is panel discussion of impact on libraries was engaging. Participants were: Barabara Allen (Urbana-Champaign), Michael Keller (Stanford), Josie Parker (Ann Arbor District Library), and Karin Wittenberg (University of Virginia).

Some points and thoughts from this discussion:

From Barbara Allen’s talk:

-Digitization increases circulation of digital and print materials. Think back to the transition from card catalog to OPAC.
-Libraries need to rethink their space, the physical and the virtual.

-Partnering and collaboration between and among libraries creates value. This not only means academic libraries partnering with each other, but academic libraries connecting with public, and so on.

-Do random dissassociated digital projects add value? Connection and collaboration is KEY.

-Challenge: Academic library expenditures for resources have doubled over the last decade or so, while the (library) staff to student ratio continues to shrink. Mass digitization, as a mechanism of resource sharing, is not only an unstoppable force, but essential in information access as financial resources and physical space dwindle.

From Michael Keller:

-Exciting plans at Stanford including a bookless engineering library to take form over the next 20 years. What will this space look like? Will it be a place where scholars come to connect and share? Can we as librarians allow ourselves to radically change our ideas about what libraries mean to us? What is a library?

-I also liked the idea of proposed ancillary services like linking from footnotes, linking to the OED from words in text, reader recommendations (Amazon is on to something… but where can I find something like this in scholarly research?), and automatic alerts based on search history.

Two comments from the audience I wanted to mention:

-Someone proposed putting the Copyright Law Fair Use statement near every photocopier in every library. Here is a link to the ALA page on Fair Use.

– Developing countries: Remember that digital and online is still more accessible in some areas than print resources are, even on dial-up.

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